The United Nations International Computing Centre (UNICC) is a specialised entity whose role is to provide digital tools and solutions to the UN family.
UNICC is currently positioned as the preferred operational and shared services centre of excellence for the UN system. UNICC is committed to delivering reliable digital services driven by best practices, offering world-class technology, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and a system-wide cross-domain experience of knowledge and data, enabling its Clients and Partners Organizations to achieve their Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) mandate through accelerated digital delivery.
UNICC’s portfolio covers more than 70 Client and Partner Organizations subscribe to UNICC’s 50 trusted services and digital solutions, offered from 5 strategic operation locations worldwide (Geneva, New York, Valencia, Rome, and Brindisi). UNICC is a full cost-recovery organization.
UNICC provides core digital business services to United Nations Agencies and related international organizations, including client services, support for innovative technologies, information security, data and analytics, software as a service and cloud integration services, infrastructure and platform services including network service, enterprise backup, ERP, web hosting and enterprise collaboration platforms. UNICC offers cost savings, business efficiencies, and volume discounts based on the scale of its engagements. UNICC operates on a full cost recovery basis, with surplus funds being refunded at the end of projects or initiatives. These services are designed to protect organizational assets, intellectual property, sensitive data, and reputation, and leverage the shared expertise of the umbrella of UN organizations and are adaptable to Client needs.
2020 brought forward new challenges and no one in the UN system could have predicted the transformation process initiated by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, UNICC was well prepared as it had strengthened its resilience and moved core functions to the cloud in 2019. This made working-from-home a technologically effortless process. At the same time, UNICC was able to swiftly react to the requirements of its partners and clients, assisting them with digital solutions and technological tools that facilitated their mandate and mission of delivering SDG-related solutions through digital tools
Note: The specificities of the UN ICC’s work as a service provider for the UN system are reflected in the coverage of their digital activities in the Geneva Digital Atlas. The ICC is affected by digital policies on data, cybersecurity, and blockchain, but it does not operate in the policy space where these issues are negotiated and governed by diplomats, tech community, and other stakeholders.
Digital policy issues
- Response to COVID-19 and Digital Solutions
UNICC has responded in agile way to the COVID-19 pandemic by supporting teleworking and virtual conferencing mainly by its:
- Business continuity and disaster recovery plan: A guidance to improve an organisation’s resiliency and its ability to better react during a crisis
- Communications during crises: A state-of-the-art digital tool that enables organisation’s capabilities to stay connected to its staff in a secure and real-time fashion
- Secure virtual conferencing: UNICC partnered with relevant stakeholders to create a one-of-a-kind guideline to share best practices for secure virtual conferencing, which dramatically increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more information, please visit the UNICC website.
- Information security
UNICC offers highly valued services in information security and monitoring, protecting its clients’ assets from digital threats through proactive monitoring. The COVID-19 pandemic strengthened the fact that a proper Information Security Management System (ISMS) framework mitigates: risk of exposure of an organisation to a high risk of negative reputational impact, loss of valuable information, and exposure to malicious acts, as well as sophisticated and complex cyber-attacks. Institutions without an identified individual (or group) responsible for overall information security are susceptible to exposure, attacks, and financial damage, as well as an unquantifiable loss of information.
With this purpose in mind and in order to assist its staff, and in particular its partners and clients to continue delivering their activities mandated by their Member States, UNICC organised a an awareness event to support UN and affiliated organisations to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity, information protection, and data privacy within the UN system. Its foundational idea continues to be ‘how to stay secure in a digital environment’.
- Blockchain and biometrics
Emphasising emerging and frontier technologies, UNICC has partnered with the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF) and Hyperledger to deliver an innovative digital tool to improve and secure pension processes worldwide. Thus, enabling UNJSPF’s beneficiaries to confirm their identity digitally through their Certification of Entitlement (CE), leveraging innovative technologies to update manual processes and streamline efficiencies. The UNJSPF CE certifies that retiree beneficiaries are able to digitally confirm their identity using an open source blockchain technology, making the storage of biometrics not only secure but also easy to access through the download of a mobile app. (For more information visit the dedicated website).
- Digital industry exchange
- Standardising and creating a digital exchange for the entire industry, UNICC and the International Plan Protection Convention (IPPC) developed the IPPC ePhyto solution, which is a centralised hub to facilitate the exchange of electronic phyto-sanitary certificates and to ensure safe standards in the arrival and clearance of plants across national boundaries. The ePhyto solution received a trade facilitation innovation award at the UNESCAP Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum (India) in September 2019. A tailor-made service by ICC creating value to customer by: Standardization of data, centralized industry exchange, supporting emerging countries who don’t have the resource to build their own solutions, directly assisting on delivering the mandate, and accelerating the achievement of SDG 13, SDG15, SDG12, mainly. (For more information please visit the dedicated page).
- Robotics automation
Optimising processes by leveraging emerging technologies to automate routine tasks, UNICC co-creates value by offering ‘best-of-breed’ and ‘absolute fit-for-purpose’ robotic process automation (RPA) solutions across various RPA platforms. UNICC’s value proposition provides for complete services, from the inception to the management of ‘bots’ and all related RPA functions.
UNICC’s RPA Centre of Excellence (CoE) was created to help drive efficiencies across the entire UN system by enabling and scaling RPA adoption. UNICC benefits from its strategic partnerships with UiPath, Blue Prism, and Automation Anywhere and their ongoing commitments to enable UNICC’s CoE to support RPA adoption and drive shared efficiencies, while at the same time enabling economies of scale. UNICC’s RPA CoE’s clients include UHCR, WFP, and UNJSPF.
- Data and analytics
UNICC offers data and analytics services, including information management, information analysis, and a business intelligence platform and support. Data is an asset and UNICC is well-positioned to facilitate and support data from ingestion through to channel publication resulting in trusted and reliable data services. This, combined with data visualisation and advanced analytics results in improved business insights.
- Digital infrastructure
In the domain of infrastructure services, the UNICC provides entities across the UN system with physical and virtual servers, operating systems, and data storage and hosting on one of its global data centres or its cloud systems. Additionally, it manages, maintains, and monitors network services such as wireless access, web proxy, and IP addresses, and also deals with Internet and connectivity issues such as shared Internet access services and DNS hosting and domain registrations. UNICC provides cloud services that include unlimited infrastructure while at the same time maintaining UN privileges and immunities. The value of digital infrastructure for the customer is a robust, scalable infrastructure supporting responsible optimisation of resources by leveraging shared services.
- Sustainable development goal enablement
Technology has enormous potential to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs, with new technologies such as blockchain, automation, AI, and big data at the forefront. UNICC provides technological tools and digital solutions that are designed and developed for its partners and clients, assisting them in fulfilling their mandate while at the same time remaining focused on the 2030 Agenda.
- Digital diplomacy
UNICC continues to design, develop, enable, and implement digital tools and solutions, ensuring diplomatic efforts are able to continue with confidentiality, multilingual simultaneous interpretation, observation of diplomatic protocols, safety of delegates, and in a timely and accessible fashion online. UNICC supports remote virtual conferencing, requiring interpretation and secure access today with a view towards continuing to enhance features to drive a differentiated, seamless customer experience in digital diplomacy.